The John Lewis Partnership has announced that it will not reopen eight of its 42 John Lewis shops from lockdown, putting 1,465 jobs at risk.
The eight shops identified for closure include four ‘At Home’ shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York.
The news follows “substantial research” undertaken by the group to identify and cater for new customer shopping habits in different parts of the country. As part of this, the company said it “can no longer profitably sustain a large John Lewis store”.
Given the “significant shift” to online shopping in recent years, the retailer expects 60% to 70% of John Lewis sales to be made online in the future, with nearly 50% of its current customers now using a combination of both store and online when making a purchase.
Additionally, if redundancies are confirmed in the eight shops, the group claimed it will make “every effort” to find affected partners new roles.
Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years.
“The high street is going through its biggest change for a generation and we are changing with it. Customers will still be able to get the trusted service that we are known for – however and wherever they want to shop.”
Pippa Wicks, executive director for John Lewis, added: “Closing stores is the toughest thing we do as a Partnership because we all own our business. If the closures are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for Partners and for us to continue to serve our customers by providing access to John Lewis in different ways.”